The committee gathered, tasted and voted, and now the 2014 Binny’s Handpicked Single Malts are on their way. Brett’s annual trip to Scotland yielded excellent whiskies this year. Now that we have sorted through all the options and honed the selection to just the best of the best, we can hardly wait for these selections to arrive (and they always take months and months, of course). Until then, get your wish list ready:
1992 A D Rattray Mortlach #5017
Char sediment floating in this one. Woody nose with deep fruit, almost like cherry – plus honey. Big in body on the palate, with all the vanilla and caramel and heat you love in a monolithic Mortlach.
1989 A D Rattray Burnside #12446
Couldn’t pass up this Burnside – don’t forget it’s Balvenie adulterated with just a teaspoon of Glenfiddich. This is graceful whisky: soft vanilla, soft flowers on the nose, with a punchy, spirited body with soft smoke. Why can’t more whisky be like this?
1997 Cadenheads Aultmore Peated #3330
Brett brought back two sister Aultmore samples from Cadenheads: one peated and one unpeated. The easygoing unpeated shows soft lemon, pear and tropical fruit notes. The peated, our choice, shows all that subtle fruit plus iodine and ham from the peat. Complex, subtle.
1994 Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach First Fill Sherry Butt
Another Mortlach? You bet. Orange and caramel on the nose, leadinng into a broad spirit with butterscotch and caramel qualities. Focused like a lazer beam. Yum.
2007 Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila First Fill Bourbon Cask
Wild and funky, this is something of a gonzo cask. Ham, graham cracker, green pear skin. The punchy spirited quality shouts its youth and power. Also, banana band aid (great band name, btw), in a good way.
1988 Signatory Balmenach #2899
Tastes heavy like a Balmenach should. Orange, honey and caramel breadth on the nose. Buttery – almost oily in body, with loads of caramel. Bourbon fans will love it.
1998 Signatory Linkwood Hogshead with “New Ends” #5121
“New ends,” that’s interesting. The sherry sweetness from the rest of the barrel still shows on the nose, in lovely honey and cherry notes that imply weight and breadth. Still light and easy on the palate, softly spirited, with a bourbon-like weight and roundness.
1998 Signatory Mortlach Sherry “Re-Cask” #2
Another another Mortlach? This one went into Sherry wood in 2011. We’d call that finishing, but our notes call it a re-cask. Sure. A peppery (black) nose leads into another monolith – all caramel and cherry fruit. Seems like we have a lot of Mortlach, but compared to OB prices, these are aged and great values.
1993 Signatory Inchmurrin Hogshead #2778
Pretty. Pear, sawdust, soft citrus fruit. Graceful, soft and easy to enjoy. Along with the buttery confection palate is a touch of vegetable, like buttery peas. Excellent.
1997 Signatory Laphroaig #3354
The peat on this Laphroaig comes across on the ham end of the spectrum. A touch of ham in the nose, with bright lemon and more ham. Easter brunch? Butterscotch on the palate, with soft grassy notes, not unlike agave. Not a slap in the face at all.
By the way, here are some other things we sampled that we suspect we’ll be able to offer soon: 1995 A D Rattray Glen Elgin, 1981 Signatory Glenlivet and 1990 Signatory Auchroisk. Wish we could buy them all.